Will Ferrell's pompous newsman Ron Burgundy might be the worst thing ever for television news in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
But even his harshest critics have to admit Burgundy has a flair for public appearances.
As Ferrell has crisscrossed the globe to promote the movie opening Dec. 18, his alter-ego Burgundy has made global impact.
"There have been movie campaigns in the past where I have done an appearance in character. But this is unprecedented," says Ferrell. "And it's all my fault."
Writer-director Adam McKay says the Ferrell-Burgundy appearances have been "pretty nuts" for the sequel to 2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
The same fans who pestered the creators to follow-up on the beloved original are the ones devouring Burgundy sightings. And the famed bushy mustache has a knack for showing up in the oddest places.
"It's like Ron Burgundy is Santa Claus, the way people interact with Will. Even adults think Will really is Ron Burgundy," says McKay. "It's very funny to watch."
It has been an impressive, if unorthodox marketing campaign. "Between the Dodge commercials and these appearances Will Ferrell deserves the Ron Burgundy Award for Ubiquity. He's everywhere," says Keith Simanton, managing editor of the movie website IMDB.com. "But these have been brilliant. I'm amazed how many people are willing to go along with the joke."
Some of the Burgundy highlights.
Los Angeles, California Nov. 20
Burgundy gave late night host Conan O'Brien tips about how to survive a prison riot and talked about what's wrong with America: Babies. "Babies have gotten uglier in this country," said Burgundy. "I don't (just) think so, it's a fact."
Sydney, Australia, Nov. 24
Ferrell channeled Burgundy by having Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner sing the 70s hit and Anchorman anthem "Afternoon Delight" in front of cameraphone-wielding fans. "I knew they had the harmonies down, so I sprung it on the guys," says Ferrell. "And it got picked up everywhere."
Bismarck, North Dakota Nov. 30
Burgundy co-anchored Bismarck's KXMB-TV evening news, a personal highlight for Ferrell. "It might be my favorite stop," he says.
The night's big story was a fire in the local Walmart parking lot. "They put 5,000 gallons of water on it, I hope they put that out and it's not still burning," says Ferrell.
Winnipeg, Canada Dec. 1
Burgundy commented on women's curling at the "Tim Horton's Roar of the Rings" event. "Ron's confidence is so unwavering that even when he doesn't understand something he immediately becomes an expert," says McKay.
Ferrell insists afterwards. "I still don't have a grasp of it."
Boston, Mass. Dec. 4
Officials at Boston's Emerson College honored Burgundy and renamed their communications school after him…for 24 hours. "Burgundy thought it was forever," says McKay. "I think it was a bit of a crushing moment when he found out it was only a day."
Milford, Conn. Dec. 5
Radio talk show host
Burgundy took calls on The Dan Patrick Show, talked sports and complimented the host about his intelligent callers. "And then this guy calls in and makes some lewd comment right at the end," says Ferrell. "Even Ron Burgundy was stunned."
New York City, NY
Burgundy's famous mustache holds hairy 3-D prominence near Penn Station in New York City. "That's the Mount Rushmore of mustaches," says Ferrell. "I think the city should literally consider leaving it up for eternity. It will become an iconic piece of the city."
Ben & Jerry's have their own flavor of ice cream "Ron Burgundy's Scotchy Scotch Scotch," while Burgundy has an "autobiography" called Ron Burgundy: Let Me Off at the Top! Jockey has Burgundy briefs. The character also pushes Dodge Durango vehicles in high-profile spots. "They have been running on TV constantly and different ones online," says McKay. "These commercials might have blanketed more than anything."